The Reverend Dr. Karen Engelman

The Reverend Dr. Karen Engelman


Let us remember the life and ministry of Rev. Dr. Karen Engelman who died on Wednesday, January 10, 2018 in DeLand, FL. She was born in Beaver Falls, PA on January 5, 1947.

Karen graduated from high school in Joliet, IL and received her undergraduate degree from Valparaiso University in Indiana. She received her master’s degree in divinity from Union Theological Seminary in NYC in 1986. She also had an education administration certification from Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. Karen taught for 35 years (1967-2002) as a high school teacher and summer school principal in Smithtown on Long Island. In 1987, after taking a two-year sabbatical that included three months in Japan doing research, Karen received a doctoral degree in international education from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Karen spent a summer in India in the early 1970’s developing curriculum for the New York public schools. She continued sponsoring after-school programs for charities during her high school teaching years, as well as many Japanese exchange programs. Karen was committed to learning and teaching throughout her life for herself and others. She had extraordinary accomplishments in professional education.

Karen was ordained a deacon in the New York Conference in 1991, and ordained elder in 2000. Her first appointment with the conference was as the executive administrator at Five Towns Interfaith Clergy.

Karen served as associate pastor at Lexington UMC in NYC from 1994 to 1998 while also serving East Side Improvement. She then served as  senior pastor at Lexington UMC through 2006.  Karen retired from the New York Annual Conference in 2013.

Karen loved to travel. Her various trips around the world included Israel, Egypt, Thailand, Japan, China, Europe, India and Burma. She enjoyed cruises and vacationing and went often with her partner Marguerite on special trips to Hawaii and Mexico, among others. Her last cruise was in December 2017 to Key West and the Bahamas.

Karen was also a loving provider for her family. Karen’s  strong work ethic, perseverance and knowledge were a great example for Marguerite and her children. Her love of cars was great and she tested quite a few. When she turned 69 she went on the Nitro Drag Car in Daytona Beach (75mph in 200 feet). She loved pets and had many small dogs including her Teddy. She led a truly remarkable life of adventure, understanding, passion and teaching. Playful, lovable, humorous and knowledgeable, she will live on in our hearts with fond and everlasting memories. 

Karen is survived by her partner of 37 years, Marguerite Jhonson. She is also survived by two step-sons, Emkay Forest (Lara) and JJ Speights (Madrid Cornele), as well as by grandchildren, Ally Rose, Aidan, Amaya, Axel and Benjamin. She also leaves her godchild, Emma Rickert, and her parents, brothers, sisters and many cousins.

There have been and will be several memorial services for Karen in the places she called home. The service in the Long Island area will take place in June 2018. The specific date and time will be posted on her memorial page at Lankford Funeral Home.

Memories and condolences may also be shared on her memorial page. Memorial gifts and donations may be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude’s Place, Memphis, TN 38105.